SEC Power Rankings after Week 1
We’re a week into the season, and already there are plenty of surprises. Going to guess that nobody would have picked our last place squad for last, but that is why they play the games — or maybe we should say why the games are 60 minutes long instead of 41.
There’s plenty of football to go, but after one week, based on what we’ve seen, here are your SEC power rankings.
14. Texas A&M (0-1, lost to UCLA 45-44)
The idea that A&M might lose the game wasn’t surprising. What was surprising was how a team went from absolutely rolling to dropping dead. It truly defied logic. In the middle of the third quarter, A&M would have been No. 3 or No. 4 on this poll. They had made a strong statement with their ground game (which ended up with 63 carries for 382 yards). And then they quit. The coaching staff, freshman QB Kellen Mond (3-for-17 for 27 yards passing), the secondary, everybody.
A&M could still plausibly win six or seven games. They can’t keep Kevin Sumlin’s job and they can’t forget this embarrassment, absent some crazy heroics.
13. Florida (0-1, lost to Michigan 33-17)
Again, the story here wasn’t the loss. Florida was playing without some big contributors and Michigan is a legitimate foe. But 192 total yards of offense and 27 carries for 11 yards on the ground? Six sacks allowed and five fumbles? The Florida defense of the past two years wasn’t there to bail out this sad-sack offense, which was like lead weight around UF’s neck. It could be a long season in Gainesville.
12. Missouri (1-0, beat Missouri State 72-43)
Sure, they put up over 800 yards and 70 points. But they allowed 492 total yards to a mediocre FCS team and their most points in an opener. Ever. Missouri State QB Peyton Huslig looked like Peyton Manning, and State also boasted a 100-yard rushing performance. Mizzou will have to put up 50 to be competitive in the SEC. They might do that a few times. But only a few.
11. Kentucky (1-0, beat Southern Mississippi 24-17)
The Kentucky team that ground out victories behind a power running attack disappeared, as they averaged 2.2 yards per carry at USM. The defense forced three turnovers, including a scoop and score, and saved the day. But how many times can the Kentucky defense do that in SEC play?
10. Ole Miss (1-0, beat South Alabama 47-27)
The Rebels had a little more life in them than might have been expected. Shea Patterson was all we expected (429 yards passing, 4 TDs), but the defense is very much a work in progress. South Alabama isn’t the Little Sisters of the Poor, but most SEC defenses wouldn’t surrender 374 yards and three touchdowns to them.
9. South Carolina (1-0, beat N.C. State 35-28)
This was a solid victory for the Gamecocks, and Deebo Samuel was outstanding, with two TD grabs and a kick return score. The down side? They averaged 1.5 yards per carry on the ground, and were outgained overall 504-246. Carolina won and was impressive—if you can look past that horrific yardage gap, which won’t lead to many more victories.
8. Tennessee (1-0, beat Georgia Tech 42-41)
Didn’t this look just like last year? The ghost of Tennessee’s mojo resurfaced. In a competitive East, they’ll be like Dracula — except they’ll probably get stabbed in the heart a lot quicker.
7. Arkansas (1-0, beat Florida A&M 49-7)
This ended up being a “they are who we thought they were” game — well, sort of. The Arkansas passing attack wasn’t very impressive, but the Razorbacks ground out 236 yards on the ground. The defense was impressive, holding A&M to under 200 yards and just nine first downs. But will it stick against meaningful competition? We shall see.
6. Mississippi State (1-0, beat Charleston Southern 49-0)
See above, but an even stronger performance. Passing for 274 yards and rushing for 281 makes the Bulldogs by far the most balanced SEC attack from Week 1. Meanwhile, they held CSU to just 33 total yards and a pair of first downs. Nobody learns much from these games, but the Bulldogs showed up focused.
5. Vanderbilt (1-0, beat Middle Tennessee 28-6)
This game had all the makings of a loss for Vandy, but nobody told the Commodores. Kyle Shurmur had a smooth 20-for-28, 296 yards, 3 TDs passing line, and Vandy’s defense dominated a capable MTSU attack. It was a shutout until the fourth quarter and most of Middle’s yardage came in mop-up time. Vandy’s offense must improve on 2.0 yards per carry on the ground, but this was a pleasant surprise.
4. Georgia (1-0, beat Appalachian State 31-10)
Almost by default, the Bulldogs were the most impressive team in the East. Even after QB Jacob Eason went out, the Bulldogs never let this one slide into doubt. The one issue is that UGA never really went pedal to the metal. Averaging 5.0 yards per carry is respectable, but Nick Chubb and Sony Michel would seem likely to outgain App. State by a much wider margin than they did. Jake Fromm was capable at QB, and now the Bulldogs can get ready for a tough opponent with a genuine QB controversy.
3. Auburn (1-0, beat Georgia Southern 41-7)
The Tigers did absolutely nothing to hurt themselves. Frankly, this felt like a game dedicated to being as vanilla as possible, and a 535-78 yardage advantage speaks to Auburn’s dominance. It is fair to wonder how the Tigers will fare against a legitimate passing game, and Jarrett Stidham will need to show more than he did in Week 1. But the Tigers looked like one of the three legitimate CFP contenders in the SEC.
2. LSU (1-0, beat BYU 27-0)
Much like Auburn, you never got a sense that LSU wanted to tip its hand, but this team looked great. Beating BYU by a yardage margin of 479-97 is worth noticing. The passing game for LSU wasn’t used much, but looked much better when called upon (15-for-18 passing for 183 yards). On the ground, the Tigers chewed up nearly 300 yards and held BYU to negative rushing yardage. There was some skepticism about the Orgeron Era coming in, but with a few more games like this, there won’t be much skepticism left.
1. Alabama (1-0, beat Florida State 24-7)
They knocked out a Heisman Trophy candidate, forced three turnovers and dominated the No. 3 team in college football. If the Alabama defense was ranked separately, it might be No. 1 on its own. The offense was a little rough. Damien Harris made big plays in the running game and on special teams, and Bama’s wealth of talent should improve its passing game. But this was a significant building block in another CFP run.